Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Mark Lerner: Nats' offer to Bryce Harper 'best we can do'

Inside Patrick Corbin's courting and the world of the newest... Nationals Owner: "I Don't Really Expect [Harper] To Come Back At This Point"
Cassandra Castillo | 08 December, 2018, 18:13

In a candid interview with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan, Nationals managing principal owner Mark Lerner cast significant doubt on whether Bryce Harper would return to the organization. "We've stated our case. "Harp" is a big part of our family, and we'd love to have him back".

Lerner advanced the notion that Harper shouldn't be expected back in Washington by saying he will "totally understand" if he signs with another team and implying the team might not have the ability to up the $300 million ante it set.

While Nats president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo reiterated earlier that the club sees its negotiations with Harper as "independent" of the high-dollar signing of Corbin, as MLB.com's Jamal Collier tweets, Lerner suggested some connectivity.

"We don't want to do anything short-sighted at this point - anything that's [going to be] a short-term Band-Aid, so to speak, and potentially put us in a hard situation for the long term when, in fact, we are then in a position to contend on an annual basis", Hahn said.

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The Harper sweepstakes is only now just beginning to heat up, and it's certain to be the dominant storyline at next week's Winter Meetings in Harper's hometown of Las Vegas.

"It very well may be", Lerner told the duo. "We'll have to sit down and figure it out". Ten or so teams might still be in the mix, including the Phillies, who've declared themselves ready to "spend stupid money", but the Nats were viewed among the favorites until Lerner said, "I really don't expect [Harper] to come back at this point".

"As you've heard me say many, many times: Pitching is king", Rizzo said. "I think they've made a decision to move on". If he comes back [to negotiate with Washington], it's a strong possibility that we won't be able to make it work. "That's just not Mr. Boras" MO to leave money on the table".

"We couldn't be fonder of the two of them, Kayla and Bryce", Lerner noted of Harper and his wife. "You can't be mad at him, and I don't think he'd be mad at us if we can't go any further". "He's great, a terrific young man, very respectful".

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